7 Common Mistakes when Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Steve

So, you’ve decided to make the wise decision and hire your first remote worker. Perhaps you have finally realized you should hand over many of your time-consuming daily tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA). Now you’re looking at having a well qualified remote worker join your team for an affordable monthly salary.

But taking this step does not guarantee success. The results of this worthwhile exercise will likely depend on you rather than your new remote worker.

That’s because success will likely depend on you rather than your new Virtual Assistant. You are the one who dictates how things must work. You are responsible for managing your VA’s daily tasks, and only you can plan to build for the future of your business.

So, to help you avoid key mistakes when you bring on board a remote worker from Latin America, we’ve broken down four key areas that you must pay attention to:

  • The hiring process and training
  • The ongoing management
  • Building for the future
  • Expecting too much from the beginning

Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. You are not hiring Superman. People from Latin America are highly skilled and articulate, but they can’t do every single thing your business needs. Nobody can. If you’re expecting too much, you may be very disappointed, and your Virtual Assistant adventure will fail.

A VA from Latin America can help you with many things such as scheduling, data entry, social media management, customer support, and much more. These are just the sort of things that will save you a lot of time.

But don’t expect them to become expert copywriters or to build a new website for you. If you have these requirements, you should be hiring a talented copywriter or a skilled web designer.

You won’t find a person capable of doing every single thing in your hometown or anywhere in the world, so don’t expect it from a Virtual Assistant.

Therefore a job posting with too many requirements will result in poor or confused applicants. And you’ll be off to the worst possible start.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant and not onboarding them

You’ve landed what promises to be an ideal VA. In your own office, you wouldn’t hire someone, get them to sit down, and then ignore them for a few days. So, you must communicate immediately and effectively with your VA.

Send them a “Welcome Email”, outlining their expected role, and how pleased you are to have them on board, and then assign the first task.

Something you are confident they’ll complete successfully. It should not be too easy nor too difficult to do. Be sure to reassure them that you’re available to help if they have any questions.

Failure to send an engaging welcome email with your initial task is a recipe for disaster. Put yourself in their shoes: your new VA might assume you don’t care.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant and not providing the proper training

The next huge mistake to avoid is hiring a Virtual Assistant and not giving them proper training. It’s also critical to train your Virtual Assistants as well and as often as you can.

You didn’t get where you are today without learning the ropes. You needed training on systems, on software and you know your company processes like the back of your hand. 

Your new Virtual Assistant does not know your business. Therefore, you must train them in every aspect of your business. They’re not miracle workers. 

We have written some articles previously on how to train your recruits. Here are some things that will help with the training of your recruits: video tutorials, step-by-step guides, project management tools, and a knowledge resource center are great ways to train your employees effectively.

There’s one other common pitfall to avoid as part of the hiring process: don’t hire too many VAs at once. All that training takes time, so imagine trying to do it with more than one person.

Instead, start with one VA. Get to understand the process of hiring a Virtual Assistant along with the relationship that goes with it before going all in and trying to hire a complete team of VAs.

Avoid these ongoing management mistakes

There are managerial mistakes that can be made in any office environment. But these are exaggerated when you have a remote worker, who’s not there with you to seek clarification or further guidance.

Don’t be vague

Be specific with your instructions. Spell everything out because absolute clarity brings the best results. If necessary, issue step-by-step instructions for every task, or at least the first time your VA is starting a brand new one he/she has not previously received training.

Providing vague instructions to your VA will merely lead to incomplete or poorly executed work. And whose fault is that? It’s not really on the VA; it’s on you.

Don’t be a stranger

Your VA (or any position you’ve hired for) will be willing to work hard, but there’s nothing more confusing or frustrating than having a boss who rarely gets in touch.

Your remote employees might think you probably don’t care about them.

Instead, you want to be in regular contact, offering support and guidance. You don’t want to smother them with attention, of course, but you have to create the impression you are available anytime they need help or advice. This will lead to your VA being more trustful and willing to develop their ideas.

Common Mistakes when Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Don’t be impatient

Don’t lack patience with your Virtual Assistant. Impatience is an unfortunate human characteristic, but it’s worse when displayed by a boss. All you’re doing is damaging the confidence of your VA, who’ll feel rushed and under pressure as a result, which can only lead to mistakes.

You seriously run the risk of your VA walking away. And if that happens, you’re back to square one. Be patient, take time to explain everything, and don’t expect too much from the start.

Don’t ignore feedback

Giving and receiving feedback is crucial to having a successful employer and employee relationship with your VA. Everyone needs to know what they’ve done has been well received. Yes, kind words are always welcome, but equally, it’s important to know if something isn’t quite right.

As a business owner, you must, therefore, get used to providing feedback on everything. Remember, your lack of communication may cause your VA to sit thousands of miles away to worry that you don’t care or that they’ve done something wrong.

Don’t be the boss who is vague, distant, impatient, and gives no feedback. If you are, and your VA relationship is not as successful as it should be, we’re sorry to be blunt, but it’s your fault.

Don’t ignore the importance of thinking about the future

One of the reasons you hired a Virtual Assistant in the first place was to free up time in your daily schedule. The great benefit should be allowing you time to concentrate on the big picture. To do some serious blue sky thinking and come up with new ways of growing your business.

Some employers may be tempted to hire a VA thinking they’ll figure things out on their own. But that’s a mistake, and you need to create a plan, provide training, and come up with a strategy to get the most out of your Virtual Assistants.

With time, give your Virtual Assistant extra responsibilities. Your employees will want to grow and develop their careers just like anyone else. If you show them you want them to grow with the business, they’ll be more invested in your success.

But never, ever, lose sight of running the business yourself. Your VAs are there to help you, not to run your company.

Have you got all?

Okay, we’ll admit that’s a lot to take in. But believe us when we say that by avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be better off building a productive working relationship with your Virtual Assistant.

And once you’ve gone through this list of mistakes to avoid, you’ll realize a lot of it is common sense.

You wouldn’t ever want to be treated by a boss who had these flaws in their management skills, so why would you ever act like that to anyone else?

When hiring a Virtual Assistant, the development and success of your relationship is mostly down to you. If it goes wrong, look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Did I do everything I should have done?”

If not, change your mistakes before hiring a replacement. Otherwise, you’ll be making the same mistakes all over again.

Steve

Steve

As the CEO and spokesperson for Pros Marketplace, my role involves connecting Latin American professionals with remote job opportunities worldwide. Anyone can create an account, apply for jobs, and secure employment without any charges. With 30 years of corporate experience, I am committed to carrying my son's legacy forward by contributing to progress and innovation in our society. A portion of our earnings goes towards organizations supporting spinal cord injuries to make the world a better place for all of us. Let's connect and become part of the Pros Marketplace family.
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